Sramana Mitra: How much of this is happening due to the implosion of the media industry that companies are outsourcing product development to you, and what is the impact of that implosion on your business?
David DeWolf: What you see is that technology is advancing so rapidly and innovation is occurring so fast, that enterprises simply can’t keep up with the newest and latest trends. It is not for the sake of technology itself. We see trends and in the tech industry we like to talk about mobility, social media, big data, analytics, and smart computing. But where that really matters, especially in an industry like media, is where companies are looking to transform and reinvent themselves to keep up with the innovative technology companies that are coming up. These [older] companies simply don´t know the technologies or are unable, because it is not their business, to stay on top of them and to learn how to apply the latest innovations to their business model.
In a world where the economics of an entire sector are being turned on their head, it becomes more and more important to partner with other companies to innovate and to develop those technologies upon which the content will be distributed. Companies are focusing on the new business that is being created and the innovation happening within the economics of their industries. The media is a great example of where the software, while it is extremely important in the mechanism by which the content is distributed and it really becomes the brand itself, it is still not the core business. The core business of media is the journalism, entertainment, and content. But the software and the technology behind those is becoming more and more important.
SM: In that process, who does the actual innovation design? Do you do the innovation design, or do you just do the development? What is the modus operandi of how you work with your media customers?
DD: What we are finding is that there is a traditional approach where companies tend to think about two parts of innovation. They tend to think about the business strategy. That is the domain expertise, understanding the market, and knowing what it is that are pain points or opportunities within a domain. Then companies are also familiar with the technology strategy, and they understand that the technology must map to the business.
Unfortunately, what a lot of companies leave out is the product strategy. There is a unique discipline that it takes in order to map the domain to a product that will solve those problems. That is the intermediary between the business and the technology. Void of the product strategy, void of very strong management, understanding the customers, usability, design, understanding how to build that loyalty with the consumer and how to monetize this innovation, it becomes difficult to succeed. What you end up doing is measuring against technologies, schedules, and timelines which ultimately don´t impact the businesses.
At 3Pillar we are absolute experts in the technology, but we take that up a level and partner up with organizations that have deep domain expertise. We outsource the entire product for them, we outsource building the product road map, helping them to build a self-sustaining product – one that gets into market early and often and helps to drive revenue streams – to help to continue to innovate.
So it is not just about the technology deliverable, it is about the entire product, about developing that user experience that becomes sticky and has loyalty with the consumer. We find that clients need that more and more because that product capability requires a deep understanding of the technology, but it can’t be void of business acumen, either.